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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY              303

has too many students, and that it might be well to have fewer
colleges if the instruction given in them was better. The
essential thing, according to him (speaking as a Mercantilist), is
not to have too many non-producers in the community. It would
be better if there were fewer ecclesiastics and more workers : for
which reason the education of the labouring classes, such as that
given by the Brethren of the Christian Schools, is wrong. The
Brethren teach reading and writing to people who would be better
if they only learned to draw and to handle plane and file, but who
no longer want to do so once they are educated. The well-being
of society requires that the knowledge of the common people
should not extend beyond their occupations.

Assuming, then, that the State should limit education to the
upper classes, La Chalotais goes on to consider the general
course of study required for the making of good citizens. Here
he was avowedly speaking on a subject of which he had not
first-hand knowledge. But kwyer-like, he had made up for his
own defects by a careful study of the authorities. On the one
hand, he had perused the works of all the outstanding French
educators from Montaigne to his own time, as well as those of
Bacon, Milton and Locke. The only notable name omitted from
the list of writers he commends to his readers was the name of
Rousseau, and that obviously enough not because of ignorance
but of malice aforethought. On the other hand, he had made
deductions of his own from the sensationalist philosophy in vogue,
with regard to the capacity of the scholars at different ages, very
much as Rousseau had done. On this double basis he mapped
out the course of education in three stages : the first from five to
ten, the second from ten to sixteen, the third from sixteen onwards.
Children at the first stage he considers unfit for studies which
make any demands on the higher powers of mind, and he expressly
restricts their education to subjects that only require " eyes
and memory." They should learn to read, write and draw,
and get a knowledge of history, geography, natural history,
physical recreations and mathematics. All these "are within
their reach, because they fall under the senses and because they
are most agreeable and consequently most suitable for child-
hood."* At the second stage, education begins seriously with the
study of Latin and French, which he thinks should be learned

P. 47*